In the last decade, Gaura ‘The Bride’ has skyrocketed to popularity among gardeners.A graceful, hazy plant with airy spikes of white, star-shaped flowers with long anthers like daddy long-legs, held on slender stems from May to September. RHS AGM
I love the drama of big spiky plants. The most elaborately formed flowers belong to Eryngium giganteum 'Miss Willmott’s Ghost'. As the summer moves to its later stages, the whole plant reaches its peak in a blaze of silver. The plant will reward you with a glamorous late-summer display.
Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’ is an easy to grow plant which tolerates a fair amount of neglect which makes it a very versatile plant for use in many situations. It does require full sun for best flower production, but this is little to ask for such a grand reward.
The unpretentious lady's mantle is extremely useful for both its foliage and its flowers. The foliage has the additional virtue of looking especially beautiful after a rain, when it holds water droplets in the pleats of its surface like many pearls of liquid mercury.
P. alpina has more upright flowers than other species of Pulsatilla, which generally has drooping flowers. The white flowers are produced very early, often opening while still under snow cover, flowers are followed by fluffy seed-heads.
With its wonderfully large blooms, 'Silver Cup' is a delightful variety bedecked with glistening pale pink flowers. The pink-flowered counterpart of the white 'Silver Cup'. Lavatera makes a beautiful bushy plant whose long flowering period well justifies a place in the border.
‘Ministar’ is an outstanding dwarf variety of columbine from Japan. With bright blue flowers with a white corolla in late spring and stands only 20cm tall. Very hardy, it is one of the best selections for rock gardens, troughs and well-drained edges at walls or paths
Get out the dark glasses – Geranium psilostemon has the most uncompromising colour of screaming magenta! Nothing like as gaudy as you might think and it never overwhelms, the wonderful dark eye in each flower tones down the effect.
Platycodon is a very floriferous, robust, long lived perennial that produces handfuls of rich lavender-violet flowers accented with darker violet veins. Beginning at the tips of the stems, buds slowly swell into 2 inch 'balloons', which pop open into bell-shaped flowers.
Campanula Pusilla is distinguished by its production of enormous numbers of elegant, lavender-blue bell-shaped blooms. It grows horizontally with rosettes of shiny green heart shaped foliage, rarely exceeding 10cm in height. It will spread indefinitely.
Digitalis grandiflora is one of the few truly perennial foxgloves. Extremely hardy and one of the best performers. Bearing upright stalks of beautiful creamy-yellow bells through the summer, the lovely soft shade allows this plant to blend with almost anything in the garden.
Rudbeckia are one of the top ten favorites of many gardeners'. Goldsturm is a compact form of the yolk-yellow black-eyed Susan, it is short enough not to need staking and never flops. An excellent cut flower and a great choice for mass planting.
Iris chrysographes 'Black Gold' is quite simply stunning. A slender, refined and understated iris, with mesmerising velvety midnight -black petals, each veined with golden-yellow highlights at its throat.
With silvery-grey felted leaves and lax sprays of long-stalked, vivid rose-purple flowers in late summer, Rose Campion flowers with a big showy display that maintains interest at a time when many other plants are flagging. A very useful plant in the garden.
With blue as vivid as a kingfisher's wings, Meconopsis 'Lingholm' is of the most exquisitely beautiful of all flowering plants. Bred by chance this superb hybrid is reliably perennial. With stunningly piercing blue flowers these plants are exceptional.
Milium effusum Aureum has a magical quality, bringing incandescent light to the shady places it prefers. As the season progresses tiny golden, bead-like flowers on hair-thin stems arch gracefully creating fountains of gold.
Lavender stoechas is an old variety, cultivated for more than 400 years, it is a favourite both for its intense fragrance and for the short dense flower spikes. French Lavender blooms from spring to frost and has a good clean scent.
The sight of the Primula japonica in full flower is guaranteed to gladden the heart in late spring, the stems being covered in magenta-red flowers from April onwards: a plant of great beauty and colour.
'Postford White' is a lovely Candelabra Primula. This hardy, long-lived plant will become enormous in rich moist soil, producing golden-eyed ivory white flowers on thick, strong stems. It is almost certainly the most impressive of all of the tall white primulas.
Primula pulverulenta blooms in late spring with whorls of deep red flowers that are held in tiers up the flower stem. It is a lovely plant from China and is one of the easiest to keep happy and will be long-lived in most gardens.
Primula beesiana is closely related to P. bulleyana and found on the slopes of Yulong Xue Shan the Green Jade Dragon Mountain. It produces stout stems carrying umbels of deep pink flowers in late spring and throughout the summer months.
‘Queen Victoria’ is a much sought-after perennial lobelia which is grown for both its wonderful foliage and brilliant flowers. This stately, upright plant bears stunning spikes of crimson-scarlet flowers which rise up among the beautiful, maroon-bronze coloured foliage.
Whether you are into the culinary arts or edible landscapes, you may want to put this plant at the top of your list. Chosen by the RHS as one of the top plants of the last 200 years, Cardoons are aristocrats in both the ornamental and the vegetable world.
Cobaea scandens is an impressive climber and is one of the fastest-growing and most trouble-free vines you will ever grow. Extremely attractive when scrambling upward through trellis work, archways, over small buildings or old trees.